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Precis File
SHIP NAME: Flare KEY: NUM. ENTRIES: 3
source Canada TSB
type D
volume
material
dead 21
link http://www.tsb.gc.ca/en/reports/marine/1998/m98n0001/m98n0001.asp

This is the official Canadian report and it is a good one. It should be required reading for anyone interested in marine transportation safety. Here's part of the TSB summary.

  1. While the vessel was making a winter crossing of the North Atlantic, the No. 4 hold/deep tank was not filled with ballast as indicated in the deep ballast loading condition of the vessel's Loading Manual.
  2. The light ballast loading condition on departure and the shallow forward draught made the vessel highly vulnerable to pounding and slamming.
  3. The required structural repairs were not effected before leaving Rotterdam, a port with extensive ship-repair facilities.
  4. Throughout most of the voyage from Rotterdam toward Montreal, the vessel encountered westerly gale- to storm-force winds and very high seas.
  5. Fractures in the boundaries of the upper wing ballast tanks were discovered and repaired during the voyage, but the internal structural repairs required by the Condition of Class had not been completed at the time of the occurrence.
  6. The contents of some of the upper wing ballast tanks were adjusted while riding repairs were being effected, but the precise distribution of water ballast at the time of the hull separation is not known.
  7. At about 0000 (ship's time) on 16 January 1998, the FLARE encountered large and steep irregular waves, which were also encountered by another vessel in the vicinity. These waves reportedly caused slamming of the vessel's forefoot, followed by a loud bang and severe hull whipping and vibration. This was followed at about 0430 (ship's time) by another particularly loud bang, again with severe hull whipping and vibration.
  8. At about 0430 (ship's time), loss of longitudinal structural integrity was initiated by rapid brittle fractures that occurred in the main deck plating in way of grain-loading ports and existing fissure damage near midships.
  9. Bottom structural failure, resulting from suddenly imposed compressive loading and excessive localized stress concentrations in way of existing fissure damage, caused the hull to break in two.


source www.oocities.com
type A
volume
material
dead 21
link

Update on the break-up of the Flare

The Flare (Cypriot-registry 16,947-gt, 29,222-dwt, 9,549-nt, 180.8-meter/593.2-foot bulk carrier built in 1972 at Hakodate, Japan; owned by ABTA Shipping and operated by Trade Fortune Inc.) broke-up 16 Jan. at 46 degrees 57 minutes north, 56 degrees 51 minutes west. A Canadian Air Command CH-113A Labrador helictoper rescued four crewmembers from a capsized lifeboat but 15 others were killed and six are missing. Among those dead and missing are four Greek citizens including master Zannis Georgoulis, first mate Polychronis Psomas and cook Ioannis Venardis and several Romanian citizens. One of the survivors had a broken arm and all had hypothermia. They included three Philippine citizens, including Peter Soriano, and one citizen from the former Yugoslavia, Petra Markovic. They were treated at St.-Pierre, St. Pierre and Miquelon, a group of French islands south of Newfoundland. The Flare broke-up 80 kilometers/50 miles southwest of the islands, with the aft section sinking. The forward section drifted towards Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, until it sank late 20 Jan. The Flare was sailing from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to Montreal to load grain.

According to the four survivors, the break-up was signaled only by a loud crack. Photographs of the broken aft section show a clean break, which some have speculated was caused by a fast-running brittle crack. A garbled distress call from the ship at 0340 was received by the Canadian Coast Guard's facility at Stephenville, Newfoundland. Weather included four-meter/13-foot seas and winds of about 40 knots. About half of the crew, including the officers, were new to the Flare, having joined the ship in Rotterdam.

The International Transport Workers' Federation said that the crew was covered by an agreement with a Cypriot labor union and it will pursue claims that may total U.S.$50,000 per person. The Flare was insured with the U.K. P&I Club and had hull insurance in the London market. According to the ship's classification society, Lloyd's Register, the Flare was in class when it broke-up and was surveyed in November. The Flare was detained at Plymouth, England, for four days in October after a port state control inspection found rusted lifeboat davits. It had a special survey under Lloyd's Register's Enhanced Safety Program in January 1996 after extensive steel renewal. The Flare is the first bulk carrier classed by Lloyd's Register to be lost since June 1994. [See Dystos]


source CTX
type D
volume
material
dead 21
link

This casualty is quite different from the standard bulk carrier hull failure. The ship was geared and in ballast. But the main difference is there is a full Canadian report on this casualty, including pictures of the still floating forward section, and later underwater survey pictures. As usual next to nothing from flag (Cyprus) and Class (Lloyds).

The Canadian investigation revealed that the ship had lots of wastage and Class knew about it. In fact, LRS had imposed a Condition of Class which said the ship should perform repairs at the next convenient port. This is only done when the steel is in horrible shape.

Yet the ship then discharged in Rotterdam, which is as fully equipped port for repairs as you will find anywhere in the world, and embarked on a mid-winter crossing of the North Atlantic. The crew made some attempts at repairs during the voyage but a single welder in bad weather could do almost nothing.

An inexperienced master contributed to the problem by not fully ballasting down, but I doubt if that made that much difference.

The structure failed in way of the grain loading ports on the main deck, above the upper starboard ballast tank. These ballast tanks were badly wasted according to both the LRS CoC and survivor reports. Thanks in part to the cold temperature, the initial failure was mostly brittle.

Port state inspections by USCG, Canada, and UK in the preceding year discovered some gear deficiencies, but made no note of the structural problems. When it comes to structure, the only regulatory body is Class.

In short, the regulatory body knew the ship was unsafe; but was powerless to stop it from sailing in the unlikely event that LRS would have decided to anger a "client" by trying.